Living With Lions

WHO WE ARE: Living With Lions is a science-based conservation organization established in 1997 to conserve large carnivores outside parks and reserves, pioneering community-based approaches which have since been widely adopted across Africa. We work with traditional pastoralists and modern ranchers to protect their livestock from predators and to realize economic benefits through tourism and conservation. We emphasize the latest cutting edge technology to study lion behaviour, and the most ancient African livestock management methods, proven effective in protecting cattle from lions over millennia.

WHY WE NEED YOU: We depend entirely upon grants and donations to cover costs of lion research and community conservation initiatives.   We are a very lean organization: senior staff are paid no salary and all donations are used to pay local field staff, training, and project costs.


WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES: Here are some examples of the costs of running our lion conservation projects:

  • $150 / £100 pays for the anesthesia for collaring one lion
  • $600 / £400 pays our rent for one month
  • $700 / £466 covers the cost of fuel and vehicle maintenance for one month
  • $850 / £566 pays the salary of a skilled field technician for one month
  • $4,000 / £2,666 buys one GPS collar, which yields minute-by-minute data on lion movements
  • $5,000 / £3,333 will replace our aged and failing solar electric system
  • $60,000 / £40,000 would buy a new 4-wheel drive pick-up

We are extremely grateful for your contributions to support our work.

Living With Lions Website.

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Lion numbers are plummeting: thousands are killed by people every year in retaliation for taking livestock. Most national parks are too small to protect lions, which move widely in search of prey and are then speared, shot or poisoned when they move beyond park boundaries and take cattle. LWL works to restore, conserve and manage Africa’s large carnivores by promoting traditional livestock management techniques that protect cattle from lions and foster the coexistence of people, livestock and predators. As the first conservation group to tackle lion conservation outside parks, our early research showed that when properly applied, ancient African livestock management methods are highly effective at protecting livestock from predators, and that minor, inexpensive modifications make them even better.   Building upon our research and experience, many other lion conservation groups have been formed in eastern and southern Africa to work with rural people outside protected areas.

We pioneered community-based approaches to lion conservation, working with traditional Masai, Samburu, and other pastoralists throughout Kenya. We designed a cheap and simple modification to thorn bush bomas that essentially eliminate the threat from predators, helped communities build hundreds of demonstration projects incorporating these ideas, and created a lion conservation video in the Maasai language that has been seen by thousands of pastoralists in remote parts of Kenya. We created the Lion Guardians project in southern Kenya which is now independent and active in other countries.

One of our most important accomplishments was to bring the world’s attention to predator poisoning, the use of cheap agricultural pesticides to eliminate lions, hyenas, and many other scavenging species on a vast scale in Africa. We played a key role in pressuring chemical companies to stop distributing these in East Africa.

We have published over forty scientific papers on lion conservation and relevant aspects of lion behaviour and ecology. We are currently collaborating with scientists from Mpala Research Centre in Laikipia, and the University of California, Santa Cruz, and have fitted nearly forty lions with sophisticated GPS collars that record where lions go, how fast they move, the amount of energy they consume, and how they react to human and livestock disturbance. We have found that human activities have a variety of subtle but important impacts on lion ecology, often affecting their ability to hunt, feed, and protect their cubs, basic biological needs which have major implications for lion survival.   These studies provides information critical for designing conservation and livestock management actions that minimise disturbance to lions but are also sensitive to the needs of people and their domestic animals.

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